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Need Help with Google interview(r/cscareerquestions)
(Another Google interviewer here.)
+1 for getting a solution on the board, even if it’s ugly or brute force. My own Google interview had several instances of “here’s a brute force solution, here’s my reasoning for why a faster solution exists, but I’m skeptical that I can produce it in 45 minutes” and I still got hired 🙂
One thing I’d suggest — despite the fact that its existence complicates my life a bit — is Elements of Programming Interviews by Aziz/Lee/Prakash. The explanations are a bit terse, but it’s an otherwise excellent book at explaining how to reason your way through an interview. Namely, it presents how to make a smooth progression from a brute-force solution to an optimal solution for problems.
There’s one other thing that I’d suggest being prepared for, and that’s culture questions. When I’m phonescreening a candidate, I’m looking for technical competence first, but I’m also looking for a culture match — i.e. being energetic about the industry and the place of software in the world, and not just smashing bugs for 8 hours a day. Questions like “tell me about a big ugly hack you’re proud of” or “describe your dream project” are a good opportunity to sell me on that 🙂